That is our second back-to-school special episode. Today, we discuss two big issuesthe low vaccination rates on the list of littlest kids, and just how long you need to quarantine after being sick (actually).
Tanya Lewis: Hi, and welcome to COVID, Quickly, a Scientific American podcast series!
Josh Fischman: That is your fast-track update on the COVID pandemic. We enable you to get up to date on the science behind probably the most urgent questions concerning the virus and the condition. We demystify the study, and assist you to understand what it certainly means.
Lewis: Im Tanya Lewis.
Fischman: Im Josh Fischman.
Lewis: And were Scientific Americans senior health editors.
That is our back-to-school special episode, part two. Well discuss why so few small children have gotten their COVID vaccines
Fischman: …and just how long we ought to really be isolating whenever we get sick.
Fischman: Many kids are back inor heading back toschool and preschool now, and we realize that means the chance of spreading COVID increase. Yet hardly any small children have gotten the vaccine.
Lewis: Thats right. COVID vaccines have already been designed for all ages since mid-June. But no more than a third of children ages five through 11 are fully vaccinated. And among kids under five, the numbers are even lower: just a couple of percent.
Fischman: Thats suprisingly low. Exactly why is it so low?
Lewis: Well, there are numerous reasons. The Kaiser Family Foundation polled parents of small children about why they chose never to vaccinate the youngster against COVID. The very best reason parents cited was that the vaccines were too new and was not tested enough. Others were concerned about the youngster having unwanted effects that could mean needing to stay home and appearance after them. But a large band of parentsabout 1 in 10said they simply werent that concerned about COVID anymore, so that they didnt think their kid needed a vaccine.
Fischman: Tell me more about thatwhy werent they concerned about COVID?
Lewis: Well, since pretty early in the pandemic, the messaging from some experts and media was that kids dont get as sick from COVID, particularly if they didnt have any underlying health issues. And thats true somewhat. But we also understand that a lot more than 1,400 children in the U.S. have died from the diseaseincluding a lot more than 500 beneath the age of five.
Fischman: Others have already been hospitalized with a disorder called MIS-C, which affects a variety of organs, plus some kids are suffering from long COVID. While these complications are rare, being vaccinated may help protect kids against them.
Lewis: Exactly. However the message that COVID isn’t a problem for kids has been pretty entrenched, and several parents have simply stopped following a news about any of it. They understandably would like to make contact with normal: heading back to school, having playdates, and so forth. And getting vaccinated just hasnt seemed as vital that you many parents, a lot of whose kids have previously had COVID and were okay.
Fischman: Quite simply, parents were more concerned about the vaccine than about COVID itself.
Lewis: Thats right. I talked to several parents of small children about how exactly they approached your choice of if to vaccinate the youngster. Michelle Fox, mom of a two-year-old boy in Massachusetts, explained that her son had COVID in-may, before the vaccines became open to his generation. She and her husband havent had him vaccinated yet, partly because he previously COVID recently and probably had some immunity from that. But she also said her husband was somewhat worried about the chance of some extremely rare side-effect, partly because her son was created premature and she herself suffered an exceptionally rare side-effect during pregnancy.
Fischman: Thats really interesting. Very rare unwanted effects from vaccination do occur, though vaccines are usually extremely safe. But COVID itself can carry a risk for kidsI mean, 1,400 deaths. Plus some kids do get severe disease.
Lewis: They do. By the end of your day, every parent must choose for themself how exactly to know what they think is really a bigger risk with their child. Vaccination is one toola very effective oneto lower the tiny threat of severe illness in kids, especially once we go to another fall and winter with this particular virus.
And updated booster shots that target Omicron specifically have been authorized by the FDA. Theyre limited to adults and kids 12 and over, so younger kids will need to wait just a little longer for the brand new ones.
Lewis: Five days of isolation. Thats just how long youre likely to maintain yourself in the event that you get COVID. But theres some new evidence that five days is probably not quite long enough.
Fischman: Eight days may be similar to it, Tanya. Thats just how long you may be infectious, typically, in accordance with some recent research.
But lets back up a little. The reason behind isolation would be to avoid spreading the condition to other folks, to avoid them from getting sick. In August, the CDC thought to isolate for five days right away of symptoms.
Lewis: From then on, in the event that you havent had a fever for each day along with other symptoms have improved, it is possible to venture out, right? But should you choose, you’ve kept to wear an excellent mask for another five days.
Fischman: Thats the state line, yes.
Lewis: But Im guessing youre going to reveal thats not the scientific line.
Fischman: You have it. Experts were never pleased with that 5-day window, saying theres an excellent chance you could still spread the herpes virus from then on point. For example, there was a report in the brand new England Journal of Medicine showing that folks infected with the Omicron variant shed infectious virus 8 days after their first symptoms.
A report just published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine viewed the viral plenty of people infected with the alpha and delta variants. Researchers estimated that about two-thirds of these would be infectious with their communities at 5 days. That risk lasted provided that seven days. And theres other work pointing in exactly the same direction.
Lewis: In order that really spotlights the significance of the next section of that CDC guidance: wear an excellent, tight-fitting mask for another 5 days. N95s, KF94s, masks like those.
Fischman: Yep, and thats probably why the CDC put the mask part within. The 5-day window was always sort of mushy, and honestly the 8-day window is really a bit mushy too. Is actually a bit more, is actually a bit less. That Lancet study discovered that viral shedding was lower towards the finish of this period, indicating the chance of spreading was tapering off.
And something other thing that Lancet research showed: rapid antigen tests did an excellent job of showing people if they stopped being infectious.
Lewis: But testing to leave isolation isnt section of the CDC guidance.
Fischman: No, it isn’t. Despite the fact that the agency that approves those tests, the FDA, says that two tests are very accurate invest the them 48 hours apart. Theyre proficient at spotting the herpes virus, and excellent at helping you discover if it is gone.
Look, isolation is hard, and I believe the CDC didnt desire to make tests a barrier to getting from your house. And masks do work. It is possible to wear one while likely to an area library, a residential area center, or perhaps a drug store to get some antigen tests. Utilize them. And this way youll keep everyone around you safe.
Lewis: Now youre up to date. Thanks for joining us.Our show is edited by Jeff Delviscio and Tulika Bose.
Fischman: Keep coming back in fourteen days for another bout of COVID, Quickly. To check out sciam.com for updated and in-depth COVID news.
[The aforementioned text is really a transcript of the podcast.]
CONCERNING THE AUTHOR(S)
Josh Fischman is really a senior editor atScientific Americanwho covers medicine, biology and science policy.He’s got written and edited about science and health forDiscover, Science,Earth, andU.S. News & World Report. Follow Josh Fischman on Twitter.
Tanya Lewis is really a senior editor at Scientific American who covers health insurance and medicine. Follow her on Twitter @tanyalewis314Credit: Nick Higgins
Jeffery DelViscio is chief multimedia editor responsible for video and podcasts at Scientific American.Follow Jeffery DelViscio on Twitter
Tulika Bose may be the senior multimedia producer at Scientific American.Follow Tulika Bose on Twitter